Savage’s top vehicles since 1990, the hits and misses ….
My annual Zoomie Car of the Year awards just debuted on WUWM.com yesterday and will appear here on Wednesday. But if you want to check my track record, here are my past 29 choices. I missed a few years when the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel stopped running locally written car reviews.
Consider my picks, and remember styling and value are always top considerations.
2022: Hyundai Santa Cruz, a California-chic compact pickup riding on a comfy crossover chassis, good power + unique, fun and useful features
2021: Mazda CX-30, sporty looks, handling, power and comfy crossover, luxury interior
2020: Kia Telluride a super stylish mid-size SUV, strong, well equipped, a perfect people hauler
2015: Kia Soul+ (Cute crossover, lively handling, high value, stellar interior)
2014: Mazda3 (light, swoopy hatchback with power, fun handling and fuel efficiency)
2013: Dodge Dart (sassy smart looking small car, full of youthful features, value) … another Chrysler/Dodge marketing mistake. This should have sold well.
2012: Chevrolet Volt (good looking, well built and cutting edge technology)
2011: Ford Mustang (in any trim a beautiful, fast, fun car with excellent ride and handling)
2010: Suzuki Kizashi SLS (modest price, good looks/handling, loaded with goodies). If only I’d known Suzuki was about to pull out of the U.S. market.
2009: Volvo C30 (sassy, economical, fun with fresh styling)
2008: Nissan Altima Coupe (awesome looks, good value, fun drive with power)
2007: Mazda5 (stylish blend of sportwagon-van, low price, practical)
2006: Ford Fusion (good looks, good value, improved fit and finish)
2005: Scion tC (good handling, great power, youthful interior, good looks, low cost)
2004: Acura TSX (sporty looks, super acceleration/handling, good mpg, moderate cost)
2003: BMW Mini Cooper (square but hip looks, excellent handling, fun for the bucks)
2002: Hyundai Elantra GT (sporty, fun, quick, and a good-looking, useful hatchback)
2001: Chrysler PT Cruiser (fun, versatile, economical and a styling knockout)
2000: Ford Focus (stylish, substantial small car with excellent handling, peppy acceleration, modest price.)
1999: Volkswagen Beetle (super styling, fun drive, solid car)
1998: Chevrolet Malibu (affordable family car with style)
1997: Ford Escort/Mercury Tracer (econocar with more flair than most)
1996: Chevrolet Cavalier/Pontiac Sunfire (economical, sporty looking coupes) … this was an Oops year, I guess!
1995: Chrysler Cirrus (styling flair and affordable family car)
1994: Chevrolet Camaro Z28 (good-looking muscle at blue-collar price)
1993: Dodge Intrepid (extraordinary style and interior space in a large family sedan)
1992: Eagle Summit, Plymouth Colt Vista, Mitsubishi Expo LRV (way ahead of their time, mini-minivans offered all-wheel drive, like sport-utes. Beat Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V by years.)
1991: Buick Park Avenue (handsome full-size luxury car at entry-level luxury price)
1990: Mazda Miata (re-invented the cute, affordable, fun-to-drive roadster)
Hey, they may not all be gems, but they all had something major going for them at the time, and a few are now icons, like the Miata, Mustang, Beetle and Mini Cooper. Even the Volt, which has been discontinued, was leading the way with its gas/hybrid power system. One might note a trend during the past four year as Kia and Hyundai lead the market in styling and value, mostly. Mazda always is strong on styling too.
Editor’s note: Some folks ask every year why they are Zoomies. Well, it was initially to tag along with the Oscars of the season and tweak the funny names of show biz awards. Plus, my brother had an iguana named Zoomie. Hey, this is all for fun!